Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ya se despertaron los pobres pastores...

Uh, excuse the fragments of spanish christmas carols running through my head...So you may have noticed from my comments and emails that I didn't exactly go away this weekend. Turns out the choir trip was canceled at the last minute... some problem with the university, who knows. No one I mentioned this to here was surprised... this is ecuador after all. they don't even take attendance in schools and the government doesn't announce official holidays until several days before... forget planning in advance!

I did a) buy a toaster oven for $18 just in time to make muffins with cooked tops! yay for broilers! b) get all my packages and holiday cards shipped, with the exception of those whose addresses I am still waiting on. Not without further hassle though. This is what I get for procrastination I guess. SO I was all prepared this time, had my tape and scissors and got the forms right away. But then when they checked my packages they tried to tell me I wasn't allowed to send food to the us! This was very confusing, as I sent almost the exact same food items in the package i sent last week, and they didn't say a word, except to act surprised that we wouldn't have such products in the us. plus they tried to tell me this is a US regulation, not an ecuadorian one, and i've never heard of that. people send (packaged, sealed!) food to the us all the time. SO since food was the bulk of my package to my family, i took issue with them and was advised to check with the "customs experts" (aka jose and pedro, et al.) After some consultation with each other (jose, what do you think?) they said sure no problem! At which point the boss walks over and starts lecturing all of us on the "new regulations" from the us. according to him, on thursday (if only i had my act together to send all my packages when i went last wednesday! ay!) they had a meeting with interpol (and since when are they in charge of us shipping regulations??) and food is no longer kosher to ship into the US. I really don't buy that for a minute, especially after searching online just now and finding nothing. Plus, the US postal service never opens packages to search them. After arguing with them for a while and declining their encouragement to send it through an expensive private shipper, they agreed that it was my own risk to send it knowing that it may be taken out by us customs. OK fine, no problem. Of course the boss gets all pissy that none of us really seem to care about his new regulations, and tells me i'm going to have to sign a special form. fine. whatever. just send my damn package. meanwhile i go over to actually to so at the window, and since the woman there is clueless about this latest conversation she lets me send it with no problem, and i only put "regalos" down on the customs form. If it hadn't taken so long to ship the package itself, I would have been long gone before the boss came back with his form for me to sign. Not that I'm too worried... it was this little slip of paper with a note written in pencil saying something in spanish along the lines of "i admit that i am sending illegal food." And exactly how much attention do you think the us postal system will pay to a handwritten note in spanish clipped onto the customs form? Exactly. So mom, dad, i'm assuming your illegal foodstuffs will reach you safely. please enjoy it with extra forbidden pleasure.

B's comment did in fact make me extra super jealous... I want to hang out and sing with kt!!!!!!!! but it inspired me to buy my chicago-hartford plane ticket... I will officially be an east coaster again from march 6-14. 2, count em, 2 tuesdays plus convention! i think i'll make my own version of an advent calendar to count down the days...

8 comments:

  1. So did you conduct this little run-in with the postal police entirely espanol? I'm impressed! These stories will be great conversation topics tonight at my Spanish conversation group holiday meeting.
    Mom

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  2. I'm thinking that illegal food is likely to be good. I'm also thinking that in this case, however, "slow" food will be less good.

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  3. "Already the poor shepherds waked themselves..." is my best translation guess. What carol is that, please?
    Mom

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  4. "The poor shephards already woke up", or something like that. It's a spanish christmas song called "ya viene el niñito", says on the music that it's traditional. And yes, i can argue in spanish. and shop and sing and speak on the telephone in spanish. go me.

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  5. already comes the [little] little boy!

    so literal. so awesome.

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  6. FYI, I just heard that song playing at the market, so it really is traditional! (And they use "ya" with the present tense to mean more like "soon", like this woman at the computer next to me just said "ya nos vemos", which is like "we'll see each other soon." So "Ya viene el niñito" is like the little boy is coming! aka, yay for jesus! Thus endeth the ecuadorian spanish lesson.)

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  7. Someone in my Spanish conversation group who spent several months going to school in Ecuador said the currency used to be sucres - and the exchange rate was something like 7,000 sucres per dollar. Almost as bad as Italy before the euro! Be glad you don't have that to contend with.
    Mom

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  8. yeah, but everything was way cheaper before the dollar!

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